Intelligence Briefing 21st April 2016

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In this issue: EEF meets Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change | Response to government consultation on establishing a new legal minimum broadband speed | European Commission consultation on the regulatory fitness of chemicals legislation | Business and the referendum: Government FAQs | In the media | Week in review | The week ahead | Blogs from this week

EEF meets Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

This week EEF met with Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. We raised a number of issues concerning industry and energy policy including the Fifth Carbon Budget, Security of Supply, the future for industrial Carbon Capture and Storage, and electricity prices. It was a productive meeting and assurances were given that the needs of industry were at the forefront of the policy decision making process.

For more information contact Claire Jakobsson, Head of Energy and Climate Change Policy

Response to government consultation on establishing a new legal minimum broadband speed

EEF has responded to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport consultation on establishing a new legal minimum broadband speed in the UK otherwise known as a Universal Service Obligation (USO).

In our response we agreed with the government that a USO is needed. High speed internet access is not only a business need, but is seen as a right.

Our response went further in outlining the need for a business USO, separate to households, established in primary legislation. This USO would include a business specific upload and download speed requirement.

Our full response is available here.

For more information contact Chris Richards, Senior Business Environment Policy Adviser

European Commission consultation on the regulatory fitness of chemicals legislation

The European Commission (DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) and DG Environment)) is conducting a fitness check on chemicals legislation (excluding REACH), as well as related aspects of legislation applied to downstream industries. The fitness check of chemicals legislation is intended to be a comprehensive evaluation of this policy area, assessing the relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency and added value of the legislative framework for the risk management of chemicals. It also intends to identify excessive administrative burdens, overlaps, gaps, inconsistencies and/or obsolete measures. The intention is to promote better legislation and make it more responsive and help improve implementation.

The scope of the fitness check covers chemical and chemical-related legislation, encompassing legislation governing hazard identification and classification of chemicals and legislation governing risk management measures for chemicals. This includes chemical-related aspects of worker safety legislation, transport legislation, environmental protection legislation, product control legislation, as well as supporting legislation.

The list of legislation being considered is extensive. CEEMET and EEF have been vocal in the past 18 months in calling for a review of all chemicals legislation, which is now happening. The consultation can be accessed here.

We require your feedback. Please send comments to Terry Woolmer, Head of Health and Safety Policy at EEF by Friday 20th May.

Business and the referendum: Government FAQs

As the official referendum period began on Friday, and in response to numerous queries from business for information on what they can do during this time, the Government has issued a Q&A for business on the rules around referendum activity. It can be found on this webpage.

This provides answers to a number of practical questions that business leaders have raised with Government such as communication with staff, participation in and funding of events and annual reports.

It does not call on businesses to take a position one way or another but rather sets out the issues they need to think about if they want to. It complements guidance issued by the Electoral Commission.

For more information contact Hywel Jarman, Director of External Affairs

In the media

EEF and UK Steel continued to be mentioned in relation to the steel crisis, featuring in The FT, BBC News, The Mail, The Telegraph, City AM, Sky News and The Guardian.

UK Steel was interviewed on Sky News and China’s Phoenix TV.

Elsewhere, the results of an EEF survey into members’ views on Europe were mentioned in The Economist and comments by Terry Scouler, CEO of EEF, were featured in The FT.

For more information contact Alex Block, External Affairs Executive

Week in review

Labour market statistics
(February)

The labour market improvements seen in the past few years have bottomed out with unemployment on both the Claimant Count and ILO measure rising. Earnings growth across the economy also remained subdued, rising by 1.8% in the year to the three months to February.

EEF Pay Bulletin
(February)

Average pay deal as reported in EEF’s Pay Bulletin edged up to 1.8% in the three months to March. Settlements have been trending below 2% for the past four months. However, the proportion of pay freezes drifted down to 15%.

The week ahead

27th April: GDP 2016q1 first estimate

Blogs from this week

18 Apr 2016
A look at the week ahead by Zach Witton

19 Apr 2016
The EU Action Plan on Digitising European Industry – what it means, why it matters by Chris Richards

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